(06-19) 04:00 PDT Washington -- SOMETIMES, very important elections receive very little attention.
When the Southern Baptist Convention elected the Rev. Frank Page as the group's new president at their meeting last week in Greensboro, N.C., the news appeared on the back pages of most secular newspapers -- or it didn't appear at all.
But Page's upset victory could be very significant, both to the nation's religious life and to politics. He defeated candidates supported by the convention's staunchly conservative establishment that has dominated the organization since the mid-1980s. His triumph is one of many signs that new breezes are blowing through the broader evangelical Christian world.
No, this is not some liberal victory. Indeed, the Baptist Press reported Page as going out of his way to tell reporters that he was not elected "to somehow undo the conservative resurgence" in the convention. But he also signaled that the spirit he hopes to embody is quite different from that of the angry, right-wing, politicized preacher who has been a stock figure in American life for more than two decades.
"I believe in the word of God," Page said. "I'm just not mad about it." (more)